By Sylvester Thompson
A legal practitioner, Mr Realwan Okpanachi says that President Muhammadu Buhari is likely to be re-elected in 2019 due to his sterling quality of trust.
Okpanachi, of Joe Abrahams (SAN) & Company, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Abuja.
According to him, many Nigerians, especially those in the north trust him more than any other leader.
Okpanachi, also a political analyst and social commentator said no candidate would be able to beat Buhari in the 2019 general elections.
According to Okpanachi, though Senate President Bukola Saraki is in-charge of Kwara politics, he can do minimal harm because the voting strength of Kwara is limited.
“Although Buhari got more than 300,000 votes from Kwara in the 2015 general elections, yet this is a figure that can simply come from one federal constituency in the north where he is very popular.
“For example, in Katsina north with 12 Local Government Areas, there are almost a million registered voters,’’ Okpanachi said.
Analysing the political space further, the lawyer said that from the geo-political point of view, it was only few zones that the president lost ground in 2015, compared to those he won, which includes the north central.
He opined that although, Sen. Rabiu Kwankwaso could pose a threat if the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) gave him a presidential ticket, but this threat could be doused because Buhari was also popular there.
The social commentator noted that with the power of incumbency, Buhari could influence and shape the political space, adding that besides, he also had support from the governor of Kano State, and members of the National Assembly.
“So, the combination of all these forces can completely neutralise Kwankwaso to such an extent that he cannot cause serious damage even if he has his supporters across the northern states,” Okpanachi said.
According to him, the president is very much on ground in Kano State, and so “if Kwankwaso saw himself as a son of the soil, he can as well see himself as a son of the soil.”
Okpanachi said that Buhari’s popularity had been tested and proven in Kano even while Kwankwaso was the governor.
The analyst said that since Buhari ventured into politics in 2003, he had never lost elections in his strong hold which comprises Bauchi, Kano, Kaduna and Borno.
“And these are states the opposition has not been able to make any serious inroads, besides, the people are not even interested in the opposition.
“What they know is that there is an element in the president which is very scarce in other politicians in those areas, and that is trust,” he said.
He said that come 2019, Buhari would garner nothing less than 25 per cent from the South-East and South-South geopolitical zones.
According to him, this is attainable with the likes of former governor of Akwa Ibom, Mr Godswill Akpabio defecting to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and other strong politicians who are already on ground.
“Before the last election, someone like Sen. Ndoma Egba was not with the president, but now he’s with him. There are also appointees he has from that place who were not there before,” he said.
Okpanachi opined that in Rivers state, the president would surely do better than he did in the 2015 elections.
He said even though former Gov. Rotimi Amaechi supported Buhari, his powers were neutralised by federal might. But now the federal might was in favour of Amaechi.
“All Amaechi has to do is to ensure that the kind of rigging that allegedly took place in Rivers state during 2015 elections should not repeat itself.
“And with what is going on in Delta state where political heavy weights are going into the ruling party, Buhari is sure to get 25 per cent which he needs,” Okpanachi said.